South UK Holidays: Top 5 Must-See Places!

South UK Holidays: Top 5 Must-See Places!

#UK is a country with a lot of surprises; the key is to know where to look. And its Southern Coast has a lot of that! The attractions ranges from #castles, #beaches, lush #countryside and a different take on British vacation.

I still remember the day, it was late September 2007. I had just moved to the UK for my new crazy adventure as an Au Pair (at age 30!), as you can see it’s never too late to start over again!

I was hosted by a lovely lady in a beautiful house surrounded by nature in the countryside, located just in between London and Brighton. On my first week, my host mom took me to a road trip to show me the beauty of the UK South Coast, and since then I’ve been blown away by its wild beauty!

My absolute favorite is our visit to Eastbourne to admire the famous White Cliffs. I haven’t seen anything like that before in my life! Breath-taking!But the Southern of England has plenty of other places to discover, and in this guide I want to show you my Top 5 favorites, with all the information you need to plan your Holiday, including what to do and where to stay!

Ready to pack? Read on!

Do you want to spend your Holidays in South UK?

Nature, fun, interesting sites and breath-taking Landscapes. Discover all this and more by reading my personal Top spots on the Uk South Coast for your Holidays! You won’t be disappointed!

Brighton Area

Brighton is a vibrant lively city, with the relaxing charm of the sea. Being popular amongst tourists, Brighton and its surroundings have many interesting and fun things to offer (I still remember tasting my first fish and chips ever, admiring the sunset on the pier!)

Brighton is a vibrant lively city, with the relaxing charm of the sea

Things to do in Brighton

1. Brighton Pier

The Brighton Pier

One of the main attractions in Brighton, this pier offers an amazing walk with numerous food stalls and little vendors along the way. It also has a Palace of Fun arcade, where you can enjoy some rides with your kids, or even if you just want to feel like a kid again.You can also watch the beautiful sunset from the pier while having a bite to eat or a classy glass of wine.

2. Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

Visit special chocolate botiques

I mean really, who doesn’t like some chocolate every now and then? It is as amazing as it sounds. Meeting at a specific location, the tour starts by visiting special and innovative chocolate boutiques. All creating their own unique luxurious flavors, and you get to taste all of them. A sweet tour indeed!

A sweet tour indeed!
from  $50

Brighton Chocolate Tour

 Brighton, United Kingdom
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3. The Open Market

Brighton Open Market

After a massive redevelopment in 2014, this market now hosts the 50 top creators and producers in Brighton. You can get anything from nutritious foods and products, to some locally designed fashion, crafts, jewelry, and furniture. So if you are just looking to browse through some creative goods, or feeling like a healthy meal, this market is definitely for you.

4. Yellowave Beach Sports Venue

Yellowave Beach

Still somewhat of a local’s secret, this sports area is located on Brighton beachfront. You can hire a court to play some beach volleyball, football or rugby. If you are not really into the sports scene, you can relax on the sun deck of the infamous. If you are not really into the sports scene, you can relax on the sun deck of the infamous Barefoot Café, and grab yourself a cold drink or a bite to eat.

Where to Stay in Brighton

A Room With a View

A Room With A View is situated in Kemp Town, on Brighton’s seafront. The Hotel offers free Wi-Fi and parking. Brighton city centre is just a 12-minute walk from the property.

A Room With A View Hotel Room


Drakes is a luxury boutique hotel on Brighton’s seafront, overlooking Palace Pier. It offers unique 4-star accommodation, and has a fine-dining restaurant and vibrant cocktail bar.

from  $196.03

Hotel Drakes of Brighton

 43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton, United Kingdom
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Mercury Brighton Hotel

This elegant hotel overlooks the beach and promenade, and has a brasserie restaurant for guests to enjoy. It’s half a mile from Churchill Square shopping centre, and has free Wi-Fi.

from  $124.76

Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel

 149 Kings Road, Brighton, United Kingdom
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How to get to Brighton From London

1. London-Brighton by Train

It takes less than an hour to get to Brighton from London by train. The fastest way to get there is from London Victoria or London Bridge Station. A train can also be caught from London St Pancras, but this will take about 1 hour 16minutes.

2. London-Brighton by Bus

Another option would be to take the bus. The bus generally takes longer than the train, but is clean and comfortable with onboard toilets. The fastest trip would be to catch the bus from London Victoria Coach Station, it will take about 2 hours and 15minutes.

2. Eastbourne Area

Eastbourne is a large town and seaside resort on the south coast of England. It lies about 17 miles (27 km) east of Brighton. Being a seaside resort, it has many sights to see and tourist attractions.

Things to do in Eastbourne 

1. East Sussex Falconry

from  $62

East Sussex Falconary

 Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK
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The Secrets of Westminster Abbey

This is one of the best ways to experience these magnificent birds of prey. The setting is absolutely stunning as you watch the falcons soar through the sky.

East Sussex Falconry
East Sussex Falconry

The owner and falconer is a very passionate guy, and he has spent his life dedicated to the birds. A great day to discover all about these raptors!

A great day to discover all about these raptors!

2. Birling Gap

The Birling Gap, Eastbourne

A coastal hamlet, situated on the Seven Sisters. Absolutely amazing view and quite an adventure. Climb down to the enclosed pebble beach via the large metal steps.There are some shops, cafes and a visitor centre. During the winter the waves will be crashing against the cliffs, but as summer comes along, the sea quiets down and you can move on down to the beach. Very picturesque landscape. For more info click here!

3. Beachy Head

Beachy Head, Eastbourne

This is definitely the number one thing to see when visiting Eastbourne. Beachy Head is the highest chalk cliff in the whole of Britain, an astonishing 531 feet. Being so high, it offers absolutely stunning views of the south east coast. Looking west you can see Selsey Bill, and in the east Dungeness. One of my best memories of England so far, I couldn’t believe what my eyes were witnessing! 

4. Eastbourne Bandstand

Eastbourne Bandstand

One of the coolest bandstands in the UK. It was built in 1935, and is still hosting up to 150 shows per year. It has a unique circular design with a blue domed roof. The arena can seat around 1600 people, with a main area, upper area, balconies and seats. Definitely worth a visit when around Eastbourne.

It was built in 1935, and is still hosting up to 150 shows per year

Where to Stay in Eastbourne

1. Lansdowne Hotel

Lansdowne Hotel

Less than 200 metres from Eastbourne beach, the Lansdowne Hotel has sea-facing lounges with original Victorian features and free Wi-Fi. Beachy Head’s chalk cliffs are just 2 miles from the hotel.

from  $117.9

Best Western Lansdowne Hotel

 King Edwards Parade, Eastbourne, United Kingdom
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1. Queens Hotel

Queens Hotel

Queens Hotel is located on Eastbourne’s seafront and looking onto the pier. This Victorian seaside hotel features 2 restaurants, a sun lounge and a bar offering evening entertainment.

2. The View Hotel

The View Hotel

On the coast at Eastbourne, the View Hotel offers modern en suite rooms, most of which have balconies. Situated on the main promenade, the beach is just a few minutes’ walk.

How to get to Eastbourne From London

1. London-Eastbourne by Train

You can take a direct train from London Victoria Station to Eastbourne. The journey will take you approximately 1 hour 26 minutes. Other than that, you can first take a train to Brighton, and from there easily catch a train to Eastbourne. For more info on how to get there check here!

Check out the Southern Trains site for more info: Fares from 31,30£

2. London-Eastbourne by Bus

To take the bus to Eastbourne, you will need to go to London Victoria Coach Station, and get a direct National Express coach, departing at 7pm, to Eastbourne. The journey takes about 2 hours 45 minutes. It’s less expensive compared to the southern Trains.

Check here for more info on National Express site: Fares from 13.50 £

3. Poole and Bournemouth Area

Known as the “coast with the most”, and certainly live up to its name. A coast covered with things to see and do. Visit some beautiful beaches or hop to an island close by. Less than an hour away from Southampton with the South West train.

Things to do in Poole and Bournemouth

1. Sandbanks Beach

Sandbanks Beach

Rated in the Top 10 Beaches in the UK by TripAdvisor users (check out my article listing the other 9!),this beach is truly stunning. Just looking around, it is not surprising that it is some of the most expensive real estate on this planet. With amazing views and facilities, this beach has been dubbed as “Britain’s Palm Beach” by national media. Definitely worth the visit when you are in the area.

dubbed as “Britain’s Palm Beach”

2. Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island Castle

Formerly a private island, the Brownsea Island has its own castle built by Henry George VIII. It is now a wildlife sanctuary and inhabited by one of the last red squirrel colonies in Britain.Great for a family day out, or even if you just want to relax and enjoy the nature. There are cottages on the island if you would like to spend a few nights, as well as an amazing café to grab something to eat. To get to the island take the ferry from Poole.

from  $15

Cruise Sailing Brownsea Island

 BH15 1HJ, United Kingdom
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3. Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park

Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park

Looking for something to do with your toddlers? With super friendly staff always willing to help, your children can take ponies for a walk, ride mini tractors, feed the goats or just take a walk in the woodlands to stretch your legs and enjoy nature. Your kids will leave this place exhausted from all the fun and entertainment. For the rainy days, there is an indoor play area with picnic tables and lots to keep the kids busy.

4. Ferry to France

Ferry to France

Considering that you are so close to France, why not take a ferry to enjoy a lovely Holiday in there? There are daily trips to Cherbourg, France, from the pier at Poole. It is the closest ferry route and will take approximately 4 hours 30 minutes to reach Cherbourg. Brittany Ferries currently have some great offers on holidays to France which you can view here.

Where to Stay in Poole and Bournemouth

1. Dolphins Hotel

The Dolphins Hotel, Bournemouth

Dolphins Hotel is situated in the coastal town of Bournemouth, a 10-minute walk from the sandy beaches and Bournemouth Pier. It offers bed and breakfast accommodation in the town centre.

from  $138

Dolphins Hotel

 Tregonwell Road, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
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2. Bay Retreat Apartment

Bay Retreat Apartment, Poole

Bay Retreat is a self-catering accommodation located in Poole. The property is 1.3 km from Poole Harbour and 5.6 km from Sandbanks. Also, check out Brownsea Castle (4 km) and Compton Acres (5.3 km).

3. Crown Hotel

Crown Hotel, Poole

Offering a restaurant, Crown Hotel is located a 5-minute walk from Poole Harbour. Free WiFi access is available. Each room here will provide you with a flat-screen TV. Shared bathroom also comes with a shower.

How to get to Poole and Bournemouth from London

1. London-Poole/Bournemouth by Train

From London to Poole, you will need to go to London Waterloo station, and get the direct one to Poole. The train departs every hour, and takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.

Check out the official The Trainline website for the timetable here: Fares from 27.80£

2. London-Poole by Bus

Via bus, you can take the National Express coaches which leave every 2 hours from London Victoria Coach Station. The trip takes about 2 hours 30 minutes.

Check out this website for the Bus Timeline: Fares from 10£

4. Plymouth Area 

This vibrant city is located on the waterfront and has so much to offer! Between its famous landmarks or beautiful countryside, busy streets or marine life, it has something for everybody at any time.

Things to do in Plymouth

1. Le Vignoble

Le Vignoble

If you are a wine connoisseur or just keen to taste some delicious wines, this is definitely for you. Le Vignoble is a Wine Lounge located in the Royal William Yard in Plymouth. It always has some great special going and the staff are very informative about the wines. They also offer a wide array of cheese to accompany the wine.

2. Plymouth Hoe

Plymouth Hoe

A massive open space adjacent and above the low-hanging limestone cliffs. It grants views of Drake’s Island and Plymouth Sound. Great for a day out for exploring local history.It has so much to offer, and has many pubs and restaurants to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. Also great for walking and pay a visit to the nearby lovely lighthouse.

3. Burrator Reservoir

Burrator Reservoir

Feeling like a nice relaxing stroll with amazing scenery? Burrator Reservoir offers all of this and more. Beautiful for hiking, biking or just taking out the kids. Lots of parking and a few minutes of walking can get you into picturesque woodlands. Silence is only broken by birds and the sound of running water. Great place to just get away and blow off some steam. Check the official website for opening times and more info here!

Beautiful for hiking, biking or just taking out the kids

4. Live Escape Rooms

Live Escape Rooms

This is one of the most interesting and fun concepts for entertainment ever. Being locked in a room, you’ll have to search for clues and solve puzzles to escape imprisonment.Best to do in groups of friends, or foes… this requires teamwork as you race the clock from room to room solving the puzzles and following the clues. Note to self: I HAVE to try this!! Check out their official website to have more info and book the experience!

from  $92

Escape Rooms

 Plymouth, United Kingdom
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Where to Stay in Plymouth

1. Boringdon Hall Hotel 

Boringdon Hall Hotel

Situated on the edge of the idyllic Dartmoor National Park and just five minutes from Plymouth, the 4-star Boringdon Hall Hotel features fantastic historic interiors and elegant rooms.

from  $180

Boringdon Hall Hotel

 Boringdon Road, Plymouth, United Kingdom
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2. Royal William Yard

Royal William Yard

Situated in the prestigious Royal William Yard, the Plymouth Serviced Apartments offer excellent self-catering accommodation with free WiFi and river views. Really an awesome place!

from  $60

Hotel Royal William Yard - Plymouth Serviced Apartments

 Royal William Yard, Plymouth, United Kingdom

3. The Tudor Guest House

Nestled centrally in the city of Plymouth, is just 7 minutes’ walk from the seafront and 5 minutes’ walk from Plymouth Hoe Memorial. Free WiFi access, Plymouth Ferry Terminal is less than a mile away.  Price p/p: From 38 £ 

How to Get to Plymouth From London

1. London-Plymouth by Train

To travel via train, go to London Paddington Station and there are trains leaving every hour to go to Plymouth. It is a fairly long journey and will take you about 4 – 5 hours to reach Plymouth.

Check the official The Trainline website for the timetable: Fares from 45.50£

2. London-Plymouth by Bus

Want to take the bus? Take the National Express Coach that leaves from London Victoria Coach Station for Plymouth. The early coaches are the cheaper ones, and it takes you about 5 – 6 hours to arrive at Plymouth Bretonside Bus Station.

Check out National Express website for more info: Fares from 25.70£

5. Portsmouth Area 

One of the oldest cities in the UK, Portsmouth offers lots of activities for tourists. Jam packed with museums and historical landmarks, makes Portsmouth one of the must see places when visiting the UK.

Things to do in Portsmouth 

1. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

If you love history and ships, this is definitely for you. Even if you do not, it is still quite amazing to see. The dockyard offers numerous day trips, which includes boat trips that explore the whole harbor, a trip to the submarine museum in Gosport.The ticket prices are pretty expensive if you book them individually, so I recommend buying an all access pass. You also get to walk inside of the old ships, looking through the windows and exploring the rooms.

If you love history and ships, this is definitely for you
from  $12

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

 Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, College Road, H M Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ, United Kingdom
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2. Blue Reef Aquarium

Blue Reef Aquarium

Want to experience some aquatic life in the UK? Blue Reef Aquarium, overlooking the Solent, takes its visitors on an underwater adventure. Explore the variety ranging from British waters to the more colorful tropical waters.The main attraction of the aquarium is the massive tropical tank, which even has its own underwater walk-through, where you can closely observe sharks and stingrays. Check out their official website for opening info and prices here!

from  $13

Blue Reef Aquarium

 Clarence Esplanade, Southsea PO5 3PB, United Kingdom
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3. Hovertravel

Hovertravel  quickest way to travel to the Isle of Wight

Ever wanted to ride a hovercraft? Still one of the coolest and most exciting ways to travel if you ask me. Hovertravel is the only scheduled hovercraft operator in Europe. You can use their services to get to the famous Isle of Wight in a mere 10 minute ride.It is the quickest way to travel to the Isle of Wight and an experienced not to be missed as there are some beautiful beaches to explore or visit the Isle of Wight zoo. Check out the official website for more info: Fares from 15£

an experienced not to be missed

4. Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

Definitely one of the must see attractions when visiting Portsmouth. Its sail-like design makes it unique and it is very difficult to miss when you around the harbor. You have to pay a small fee to go to the top where you can experience the glass Sky Walk (not recommended if you are not a fan of heights). Right at the top is an open air deck where you can enjoy the fresh cool ocean breeze. 

from  $12

Spinnaker Tower

 Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth PO1 3TT, United Kingdom
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Where to Stay in Portsmouth 

1. Premier Inn Hotel 

In the Port Solent waterside development, close to the M27 motorway (junction 12), the hotel offers free parking and modern air-conditioned rooms with luxury power showers.

from  $130

Hotel Premier Inn Portsmouth Port Solent

 Binnacle Way, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
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2. Seacrest Hotel 

The Seacrest Hotel is situated on Southsea’s seafront, looking out over award-winning gardens to the Solent and the Isle of Wight. It has free parking, free Wi-Fi and rooms with flat-screen TV.

from  $152

Seacrest Hotel

 12 South Parade, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
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3. Somerset House Hotel 

The Somerset House Hotel has been restored to the original splendour of its Edwardian roots. It offers boutique rooms with free Wi-Fi and free parking, just a 5-minute walk from Southsea Beach.

from  $132

Somerset House Hotel

 10 Florence Road, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
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How to get to Portsmouth from London

1. London-Portsmouth by Train

Traveling to Portsmouth from London via train, you have two choices. One is taking the train from London Waterloo Station to Brighton, and then from Brighton to Portsmouth, OR, take the train from London Victoria Station, straight to Portsmouth on the South West Trains.

Check out the South Western site for more info: Fares from 28.70£ (direct train:Around 2 hours ride)

2. London-Portsmouth by Bus

Traveling to Portsmouth by bus, you will need to go to London Victoria Coach station and catch a bus (leaves every hour) to Portsmouth, “The Hard Exchange” bus station.

Check out the National Express website for more info: Fares from 5£

Amazing Video Shot in Southern England 

This is a video I found on YouTube with some amazing footage of beaches and places on the Southern Coast of England. Some of these places are not included in this list, but are definitely on my wish list! You can check my other article on the Top 10 Uk Beaches to see a few of them featured. A must watch video, truly Awesome! (Make sure to watch it in HD to be amazed!)

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